Lorain County, Ohio Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Guide to Lorain County, Ohio ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Coordinates: 41.47°0′N 82.15°0′W / 41.47°N 82.15°W / 41.47; -82.15

Lorain County, Ohio
Map of Ohio highlighting Lorain County
Location in the state of Ohio
Map of the U.S. highlighting Ohio
Location of Ohio in the U.S.
Lorain County, Ohio Courthouse.jpg
Address Lorain County Courthouse
308 2nd St.
Elyria, OH 44035-5506
Lorain County Website

Lorain County, Ohio Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1867 1824 1867 1824 1824 1840 1820
Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1908. General compliance year is unknown.

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named by early settler Heman Ely for the French province of Lorraine. It's county seat is Elyria and was founded December 26, 1822. It is located in the Northcentral area of the state.[3]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county: [4]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Erie County  • Huron County  • Ashland County  • Medina County  • Cuyahoga County

Boundary Changes [5][edit | edit source]

On 4 July 1805, all lands of the Connecticut Western Reserve from the original Treaty of Greenville line (the Cuyahoga River, Tuscarawas River, and the portage between them) to 120 miles west of the Pennsylvania line between the 41st Parallel and Lake Erie, were purchased from local Indian tribes in the Treaty of Fort Industry, opening the lands of Lorain County to white settlement.

Townships in the Western Reserve were supposed to be surveyed to be five miles square, however, mistakes were made in surveying the line between the lands belonging to the Connecticut Land Company (ending in Range 19) and the Firelands (beginning in Range 20), causing townships in Range 19, which became the western townships of Lorain County (Troy, Rochester, Brighton, Camden, Henrietta, and Brownhelm) to be much narrower. These townships were set aside as "surplus lands" and used to equalize the amounts of land received by stakeholders in the Connecticut Land Company.

  • All lands in what is now Lorain County were at first part of Trumbull County.
  • 1807 - Geauga County created, with the townships of Columbia, Eaton, Ridgeville, Troy (now Avon), Carlisle, Elyria, Sheffield, Russia, Amherst, Black River, Henrietta, and Brownhelm, as part; the others remaining with Trumbull County.
  • 1808 - Portage County created, receiving the townships previously attached to Trumbull County, namely Grafton, Penfield, LaGrange, Huntington, Wellington, Pittsfield, Rochester, Brighton, and Camden.
  • 1810 - Cuyahoga County receives all of the northern townships previously attached to Geauga County.
  • '1811 - Huron County received the townships of Carlisle, Elyria, Russia, Amherst, Henrietta, and Brownhelm, along with the parts of Black River and Sheffield Townships lying west of the Black River. All of Huron County was attached to Cuyahoga County until it was organized in 1815.
  • 1812 - Medina County created, receiving the townships previously attached to Portage County. All of Medina County was attached to Portage County until it was organized in 1818.
Map of Lorain County,​ Ohio,​ 1879.jpg
  • 1822 - Lorain County was formed and took in parts of:
    • Huron County: the townships of Carlisle, Elyria, Russia, Amherst, Henrietta, and Brownhelm, along with the parts of Black River and Sheffield Townships lying west of the Black River.
    • Cuyahoga County: the townships of Troy (now Avon), Ridgeville, Eaton, and Columbia, along with the western half of Lenox Township (now Olmsted) and the parts of Black River and Sheffield Townships lying east of the Black River.
    • Medina County: the townships of LaGrange, Wellington, Pittsfield, Brighton, and Camden.
Until the county government was organized in 1824, its parts remained attached to their former jurisdictions.
  • 1827 - Lorain County received the townships of Grafton, Homer, Penfield, Spencer, Sullivan, Huntington, Troy, and Rochester, while the western half of Lenox Township (now Olmsted) was added back to Cuyahoga County. Its northern boundary was set in the middle of Lake Erie along the international boundary with Canada.
  • 1840 - Summit County created, with the townships of Homer and Spencer added back into Medina County to compensate.
  • 1846 - Ashland County created, which received the townships of Sullivan and Troy.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Business Records and Commerce[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Online Grave Transcripts Published Grave Transcripts County Cemetery Directories


Family History Library




Names in Stone

USGW Tombstones

Billion Graves

Billion Graves
OHGenWeb Tombstone Photos

Ohio Gravestones

See Ohio Cemeteries for more information.
  • Cemetery Inscriptions of Lorain County, Ohio (Elyria, OH: Genealogical Workshop of the Lorain County Historical Society, 1980). Comprehensive listing of grave sites and records for public cemeteries all over the county, from the arrival of the earliest settlers from the East on up to 1980. Valuable shortcut to finding information that may no longer be legible on original stones. Available on the Lorain County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society website and from local libraries.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1830 5,696
1840 18,467 224.2%
1850 26,086 41.3%
1860 29,744 14.0%
1870 30,308 1.9%
1880 35,526 17.2%
1890 40,295 13.4%
1900 54,857 36.1%
1910 76,037 38.6%
1920 90,612 19.2%
1930 109,206 20.5%
1940 112,390 2.9%
1950 148,162 31.8%
1960 217,500 46.8%
1970 256,843 18.1%
1980 274,909 7.0%
1990 271,126 −1.4%
2000 284,664 5.0%
2010 301,356 5.9%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Ohio denominations, see Ohio Church Records.

  • Pittsfield Community Church Originally two churches, the Pittsfield Methodist Church, formed in 1824, and the Pittsfield Congregational Church, formed in 1836 (and originally organized as the Evangelical Union Church of Christ), which built permanent structures in 1845 and 1846, respectively. Both buildings were destroyed in the Pittsfield Tornado of 1965, at which point both churches elected to combine into the Pittsfield United Church of Christ, which rebuilt by 1966. The church became independent and was renamed Pittsfield Community Church in 1997.

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Lorain County Clerk
Justice Center
225 Court St
1st Floor
Elyria, OH 44036-0749
Lorain County Clerk of Court of Common Pleas
Hours: 10am-4:30pm
Maintains records of Civil, Criminal, Domestic Relations and 9th District Court of Appeals cases

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

African American

Bigglestone, William E. They Stopped in Oberlin : Black Residents and Visitors of the Nineteenth Century - Scottsdale, Ariz. : Innovation Group, C 1981. - xxv, 252 p. F499.O2 B53 1981

Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Lorain County, Ohio Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Ohio Local Histories.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]
  • Lorain County Sesquicentennial, 1824-1974, (Elyria, Ohio: American Mult-Service, 1974). FHL book 977.123 H2L
  • History of the Western Reserve, Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 by Harriet Taylor Upton (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1910).

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Ohio Land and Property for additional information about early Ohio land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

  • Lorain County Recorder, Administration Building, 226 Middle Ave, First Floor, Elyria, OH 44035. Phone: +1 (440) 329-5148. Hours: M-F 8am-4:30pm. Maintains official county land records, among other documents, going back to the county's beginning. A searchable index, along with certain document images, is available for documents beginning in the late-1980s/early-1990s to present through their website, or in the Recorder's Office.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Erie CountyHuron CountyAshland CountyMedina CountyCuyahoga CountyOH LORAIN.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Civil War service men from Lorain County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Lorain County.

World War I[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Lorain County, Ohio Genealogy newspapers may contain genealogical value including obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings.

To access newspapers, contact public libraries, Ohio Genealogical Society chapters, college or university libraries, the Library of Congress, Google News, or the Ohio Memory. The Ohio Genealogical Society Obituary Database is another source of newspaper information.

For more Ohio newspaper information see the Newspaper Guides on the wiki page Ohio Newspapers. Chronicling America:  Historic American Newspapers at the Library of Congress lists a plethora of local newspaper titles along with libraries and historical societies which retain archives of them.  Please note that their listings are extensive, but not comprehensive, as local libraries may retain archives which are not listed.

Daily newspapers have been published since the 1800s in Elyria and Lorain.  Elyria newspapers often published information and announcements relevant to the entire county (being that Elyria is the county seat) with much focus on areas in the central and southern parts of the county, including at times western Cuyahoga and Medina Counties, eastern Erie and Huron Counties and northern Ashland County.  Lorain newspapers usually focused on the lakeshore communities.  Information published in both cities often includes births and deaths, marriages and divorces, hospital discharges, legal notices, court filings, land transfers, and personal news (for example, "Mr. John Smith and family from Wellington spent the day with his mother-in-law, Mrs. Wm. Whitney in LaGrange on Saturday.").

Daily newspapers in Cleveland also cover news and events in Lorain County, including obituaries.

  • NewspaperARCHIVE contains an extensive number of newspaper issues from both Elyria and Lorain, which are browsable and searchable, although not every issue of each newspaper is available (a fee is required, however it is availabe free of charge if accessed from this Elyria Public Library web page); their archives are also available with membership at Ancestry.com.
  • Microfilm and original archives are kept at local libraries.

Weekly community newspapers have been published for over 100 years in Amherst, Oberlin, and Wellington.  More recently, The Sun Sentinel covers Avon, Avon Lake, and North Ridgeville.

Online Newspapers
Online Newspaper Abstracts
Newspaper Extracts and Abstracts in Book Form

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate[edit | edit source]

From 1797 or the creation of the county, probate records were held by the Court of Common Pleas. After 1852, records are held by the {{{1}}} County Probate Court. Records include wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, marriage, adoption, and birth and death records (1867-1908 only). The records may give the decedent's date of death, name of spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

See Ohio Probate Records for information about how to use probate records. Online Probate Indexes and Records

Finding More Probate Records[edit source]

Additional probate records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lorain County, Ohio Genealogy Probate Records in online catalogs like:

Public Records[edit | edit source]

Repositories[edit | edit source]

Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Lorain County Courthouse
226 Middle Avenue;
Elyria, OH 44035;
Phone: 440.329.5428 

Probate Judge has birth, marriage and probate records;
Clerk Court has divorce records from 1850 and court
records from 1824; County Recorder has land records;
Elyria Public Library and Loraina County Historical Society
have books of genealogical interest[6]

Lorain County is located in Northeast Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie just west of Cleveland.  It has long been home to great agriculture and industry, though both have declined due to suburban sprawl spilling out of Cuyahoga County, and the emigration of manufacturing jobs to other regions. Although the county was created in 1822, records were not kept by it until the county government was organized and began to function in1824

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory. Put your town name in the top search box.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Elyria Public Library System Central Library
320 Washington Ave
Elyria, Ohio 44035
Telephone: 440-323-5747
The Ohio Room
Elyria Public Library System Central Library
M-R 10am-7pm, F-Sa 12pm-4pm, Su 1pm-5pm.
contains an extensive collection of local history and genealogy books, atlases, maps, obituary indexes, city directories, and high school yearbooks, also included are microfilm archives of county newspapers beginning in 1832, the United States Census for local counties, and Lorain County Probate Court birth, death, and marriage records and indexes.

Hours: M-R 9am-8:30pm, F-Sa 9am-5pm, Su Oct-Apr 1pm-5pm.

Barbara and Mike Bass Library/Community Resource Center
Lorain County Community College
1005 N Abbe Rd,
Elyria,Ohio 44035
Toll-free: +1 (800) 995-5222 Ext. 4026
Barbara and Mike Bass Library/Community Resource Center
Lorain County Community College

Oberlin College Library
148 W College St
Oberlin, Ohio 44074
Telephone 440-775-8285
Fax: 440-775-6586
Oberlin College Library
Oberlin College

Museums[edit | edit source]
Societies[edit | edit source]
Connecticut Western Reserve in northeast Ohio.png

The Connecticut Western Reserve  was a part of northeast Ohio originally intended for settlement by Revolutionary War refugees from Connecticut.[7] The former Connecticut Western Reserve  lands were in the modern counties of Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, and Trumbull fully, but also in parts of Ashland, Mahoning, Ottawa, Summit, and Wayne counties in Ohio.

The Research Library at the Western Reserve Historical Society History Center  is the premier repository for Cleveland, Ohio and Connecticut Western Reserve history material. One of the principal strengths is its manuscript collections.[8] The WRHS collection has original land records, genealogies of New England, New York, and Pennsylvania, biographies, histories, and family Bibles.[7]

Other Societies

Lorain County Historical Society
509 Washington Ave
Elyria, Ohio 44035
Telephone: 440-322-3341

Western Reserve Historical Society
10825 East Blvd
Cleveland, Ohio 44106
Telephone: 216-721-5722

Lorain County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society
PO Box 865
Elyria, Ohio 44036-0865
Website contains user-contributed birth, death, marriage, and court records, as well as obituaries.

Black River Historical Society
09 W 5th St
Lorain, Ohio
Telephone: 440-245-2563

The Southern Lorain County Historical Society/Spirit of '76 Museum
PO Box 76, 201 N Main St
Wellington, Ohio 44090
Museum is housed in Downtown Wellington in a former cold storage warehouse during Wellington's cheesemaking heydey. Contains extensive collection of local and period artifacts and exhibits, along with a library containing historical maps, Wellington High School yearbooks, and an archive of the Wellington Enterprise.
Admission is free.

Online Genealogy Research Groups[edit | edit source]

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Finding More Tax Records

Additional tax records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lorain County, Ohio Genealogy Tax Records in online catalogs like:

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Marriages were usually recorded from the formation of the county and are held at the office of the County Probate Court. Divorce records are located with the county Clerk of Courts.

Any existing birth and death records from 1867 through December 19, 1908 are located at the County Probate Court. The Ohio Department of Health has birth records filed after December 20, 1908 and death records filed after January 1, 1954, while the Ohio History Connection houses death records from December 20, 1908 through December 31, 1953.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Online Birth Indexes and Records

  • The probate court in Lorain County began keeping birth and death records when required by state law in 1867. Birth and death certificates have been recorded as of 20 December 1908

Original Birth Records on Microfilm

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Online Marriage Indexes and Records

1800-1942 - Ohio, Marriages, 1800-1942 at FamilySearch — index

Original Marriage Records on Microfilm

Death[edit | edit source]

Online Death Indexes and Records

Original Death Records on Microfilm

Finding More Vital Records

Additional vital records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lorain County, Ohio Genealogy Vital Records in online catalogs like:

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Divorces are stored in the Records Division, Room 109 Phone 440-329-5511 or 440-329-5489 Fax 440-329-5400 chart@loraincounty.us

Civil Records[edit | edit source]

Beginning Dates for Lorain County Records
Birth  Marriage  Death  Census  Land  Probate  Court

See also: Ohio Vital Records 

Official birth and death certificates are available from: 

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lorain County, Ohio. Page 540-547 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 531-533.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  3. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Lorain County, Ohio Genealogy and History”, http://genealogytrails.com/ohio/lorain/ accessed 2/22/2017.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Lorain County, Ohio," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorain_County,_Ohio, accessed 26 December 2018.
  5. George Frederick Wright, A Standard History of Lorain County, Ohio, Volume 1 (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1916), 62-9.
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lorain County, Ohio. Page 543 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. 7.0 7.1 William Dollarhide, and Ronald A. Bremer, America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, UT: Heritage Quest, 1988), 89. At various repositories (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 J54d.
  8. Family History and Genealogical Research in Western Reserve Historical Society (accessed 11 March 2015).